U.S. MotoGP/Moto2 riders Colin Edwards and Josh Herrin try out CoTA on a Blustery Day

Colin Edwards and Josh Herrin heat up the Circuit of the Americas track.

Josh Herrin

Photography by Kurt Bradley, @KurtBradley

While Austin was getting nervous on Thursday about upcoming icy weather, MotoGP rider Colin Edwards and Moto2 newbie Josh Herrin—two of only three American racers competing in these series—decided to heat up the track at Circuit of The Americas with some test laps and a QandA with media personnel.

Edwards, a native Texan and veteran MotoGP rider who turned pro at age 16, opted to forego his scheduled track laps due to the stiff wind and fairly arctic temperatures. The 39-year-old racer for Team NGM Mobile Forward Racing answered questions about what it was like to compete in his home state at last year’s event. “It was awesome,” he said. Edwards loved the proximity: “I think [CoTA’s] the first track I’ve driven to in, I don’t know, 25 years… since I started racing. It was crazy to jump in my truck, load the kids up and haul ass!” He went on to compare the atmosphere at CoTA to Shanghai, China, when he experienced it for the first time back in 2006/2007: “You drove up, and it was phenomenal how big the facility was. And I think that was my first real taste of seeing what can be built for a racetrack. And here [at CoTA] was the exactly same way. When I drove up for the first time and did the PR event at the beginning of last year, [it] was like, ‘Holy crud! This is in my backyard.’ So it’s a pleasure to come here and race because they’ve done a fantastic job of building this facility.”

Edwards is also pleased to be back riding a Yamaha for 2014. For the past two years, he’d been racing on a CRT dirt bike and it wasn’t the best experience. He told Cycle News back in November, “I’m so used to shifting gears the last couple of years and bashing my helmet against the windscreen cause you get a little hiccup here or there. On [the Yamaha], you shift gears and it pops a wheelie. There’s no [sic] this intermittent upsetting the chassis. It’s awesome. It’s nice.” On Thursday, Edwards said that the team was headed to Malaysia for the first test and had some modifications in mind.

Josh Herrin and Colin Edwards interview

Josh Herrin and Colin Edwards interview. (Photo by Kurt Bradley, @KurtBradley)

Type image description here.The two-time World Superbike Champion (2000 and 2002) established his own motorcycle riding school in 2010, the Colin Edwards Texas Tornado Boot Camp, which he described as “a hotel” with “three or four tracks on the property.” The 24-acre facility is located just outside of Houston in Montgomery, Texas, and offers training for professionals and amateurs alike. Edwards said that attendees ride motorcycles all day, “shoot guns after lunch and, when the motorcycling stops, we have a few beers around the fire and tell horror stories.”

Herrin’s laps around the track might have had a touch of horror story to them, what with the chilling temps and freezing drizzle. The 23-year-old rookie with Team Caterham Racing was experiencing CoTA for the first time, and he described the track as “sick.” He said, “The coolest thing is that [this track] is in the U.S.; you don’t see stuff like that in the U.S. very often just because racing, in general, isn’t a big thing in the States compared to Europe. My expectations were blown away. I didn’t think it would be this nice. It was fun on the track. The design is really nice.” Like Edwards, he’s looking forward to the Red Bull Grand Prix of The Americas (April), and he wast about to pass up some practice time on site. “Even though we didn’t get a lot of laps today, having track time on a new track is so helpful,” Edwards explained. “When I went to Jerez for the first time, I played a million laps on video games. I watched all of the on board footage. Even then, it’s so different learning the track.”

Riding in front of the home crowd is going to be a special experience for Herrin; he’s the only American in Moto2, and he’s looking forward to that home field advantage. “I always see Nicky [Hayden, the third American] and Colin are really excited to go in front of their home crowd, and I can see why. I went to the last race in Spain, and it’s just full of Spanish fans, and I can see coming here being in front of a 100,000 people. It’s going to be pretty exciting.”


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